Some of our readers have been confused by my criticism of Christian leaders who call for the repeal of state and federal anti-sodomy laws. They've wondered why such laws are necessary and whether my support for them isn't, deep down, an indication of some basic imbalance in my psyche--maybe even homophobia?
Well, down through the centuries there have been many reasons western societies have banned sodomy. For instance, similar to fornication, adultery, and prostitution, sodomy is a seedbed for disease. And when the diseased continue in their promiscuity, they cause public health disasters.
Nature's God created sexual intimacy in such a way that it rewards lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual unions--and punishes promiscuity of all sorts. No matter how much money is thrown at the problem, there still is no synthetic prophylactic, exercise regimen, vaccination, or pill that will protect the sexually promiscuous from the destruction of their health that nature's God has ordained as the consequence of their sin. Heterosexual monogamy produces life; promiscuity and sodomy produce death.
Until recently, the laws of the western world penalized sexual promiscuity to the end that sexually transmitted diseases would not increase and the deaths such diseases caused would decline. Yet today, when the fatal consequences of sexual promiscuity are more clear than at any time in prior history, the very form of promiscuity with the most direct causal relationship to death has been normalized.
While those infected with AIDS died by the millions around the world, the direct cause of those deaths--sexual, and particularly sodomitic, promiscuity--grew by leaps and bounds. But rather than enforcing the laws already on the books written expressly for the purpose of protecting society against such outbreaks of contagious disease, the western world's civil authorities fell all over one another to repeal those laws.
Sodomy causes AIDS? Well, if we remove the stigma associated with sodomy, maybe it will cause sodomites to take pride in who they are and to act in a more self-interested, enlightened way?
A public health quarantine would only add to the stigma, and sodomites won't stand for the closing down of their bathhouses, so we'll have to find kinder and gentler ways of helping them avoid death.
Religious leaders were eager to demonstrate the same compassion toward AIDS victims that civil authorities had pioneered. Throughout past centuries, Christian pastors had preached the Word of God to those tempted by sexual immorality by calling God's People to holiness, but also by warning the wicked that God would not be mocked, and that whatever a man sowed was also what he would reap. Pastors made the association between sexually transmitted diseases and the death of sinners very clear, pointing out to their congregations and communities that such consequences were God's judgment against sexual perversion.
But in the presence of the most stunning confirmation of such biblical doctrines history has ever provided, Christian pastors today turned in a different direction than their predecessors, releasing statements that reassured millions that AIDS was no judgment of God, or that it was not God's judgment on any particular sexual sin, but only undifferentiated sexual sins. Or better yet, sins in general, as it were.
The work didn't stop there. It wasn't enough for Christian leaders to obscure the relationship between sodomitic promiscuity, death, and judgment. The very nature of the sin practiced by those Scripture labels as the "soft" or "effeminate," and the "male-bedders" (1Corinthians 6:9) must be redefined. And so these leaders began to speak reassuring words to sodomites concerning the nature of their particular temptation. They preached sermons, gave lectures, and wrote books about the tenacity of sexual orientation, about the dignity of every human being, about the extreme difficulty of breaking off from a "homosexual lifestyle," about the distinction between sexual orientation and sexual sin, and so on.
In various ways the main point was hammered home: Christian leaders were sensitive to the oppression of sodomites so characteristic of the church in the past, and they would allow it no more. Like the civil authority, preachers and pastors wanted to be seen as kinder and gentler than their predecessors and were determined to use the considerable power and influence at their disposal to restore dignity to this oppressed people group.
Some would go further than others in this venture, but the basic tools employed included the acceptance of practicing sodomites as members in good standing of our churches with a "Don't ask, don't tell" mode of operation; a defense of monogamous, covenantal same-sex unions as a wise compromise with the full scale promiscuity attended by such grave dangers that otherwise characterized the male sodomite community; the obliteration of language and work that sought to call the soft and effeminate out of their sinful identity to a full-blooded manhood in thought, appearance, and action; and the final elimination of any talk of sodomy being unnatural or perverted, as well as the sense of shame that had been attached to that perversion.
Removing this stigma from the effeminate and male-bedders has been a central plank of evangelical witness to our culture for at least twenty years, now. Thinking ourselves wise, we've become foolish and have been turned into prophets, not of God, but of perversion and perversion's author, Satan himself. Thinking that the Gospel's trump card is a kindler and gentler god, we've turned our back on God's wrath against sin. We've avoided the fear of God, repentance, judgment, and hell. Instead, we've worked hard to woo souls into the Kingdom through preaching God's 'yes' without His 'no." We speak passionately of God's love, Christian love, family love, and sexual love. Listening to us might naturally lead a reasonable soul to conclude that John Lennon was right after all: "all you need is love."
And still, the work isn't done. The project of presenting a kindler and gentler face to the world continues with the next step being the repeal of anti-sodomy laws. Enlightened evangelicals realize the educative value of the law, and that so long as laws against sodomy remain on the books, a certain stigma will attach itself to the effeminate and man-bedders. Simply put, this can't be.
But I get the distinct impression our Christian leaders have no idea what they're doing because they've never stopped to consider what they're undoing. What was the purpose of the anti-sodomy laws of the western world? What motivated them? What effect did they have on public health? Public morals? Prison life? Military life? Prep school life? The whaling industry? The Merchant Marine? Were the laws instrumental to countries being able to maintain fertility levels that guaranteed population replacement? Did they have a salutary impact on rates of violent crime? Rape? Pedophilia? Incest? Pederasty? Divorce? Abandonment? Bestiality?
Concerning the soul, did anti-sodomy laws cause preachers to have greater boldness in opposing sodomy and other sexual sin? Did the public shame attached to this crime discourage men from acting on their temptations? In other words, was being "in the closet" really as bad as the sodomite lobby claims, or was it a blessing from heaven?
And here we get at the nub of the issue: those who seek the repeal of anti-sodomy laws aren't doing so out of a new and enlightened view of the relationship between the church and state, but out of a complete ignorance--maybe even indifference--to the physical and spiritual destruction sodomy and other sexual perversions cause to men and man. Or worse, they have contracted the obscure but spreading disease known as libertarianism, and have lost their confidence in the ability of the civil authority to carry out its divine calling, to "bear the sword" and to bring "wrath on the one who does evil" (Romans 13:3,4).
Ironically, the libertarians are right to point out the power of the law. Remove the salt's saltiness, hide our light under a bushel, and the corruption of the Ancient World will return, as will the persecution of any who dare to speak against it. Praise God, we'll again have men like John the Baptist, Stephen, Peter, Paul, Luther, and Knox who are willing to die for the Gospel.
The power of the state will not diminish; it will simply be turned from punishing evil to punishing good. The same arm that punished the effeminate and man-bedders will turn to its new moral mandate. Now it will use its power to punish those who call the effeminate and man-bedders to flee from the wrath to come.
So who will remain faithful? Will it be those Christian leaders who denied AIDS is God's judgment against sodomy or sexual sin; who carefully distinguished between homosexual orientation and conduct; who promoted monogamous covenantal unions as God's second-best for those of homosexual orientation; who feigned ignorance over the number of men and women in their congregations who were in same-sex romantic and erotic relationships; who stood up publicly calling for the repeal of anti-sodomy laws to the end that society would be less oppressive to these poor victims?
No, not one of these change agents will ever be willing to be a prophet against the sin that he helped society to normalize. Long ago he indicated where his allegiance lay, and it was with the hirelings who fled when the wolf attacked the flock. Under the guise of compassion, he fled, but then had the gall to turn back and prolaim his abandonment as a principle--even a biblical principle. He talked of the nature of the state, of the proper sphere for the church and state together, of the need for tolerance in a diverse and pluralistic society, of the danger of Christians standing against diversity when, increasingly, we were becoming the minority, and so on.
But in the end, all that matters is that we abandoned the sheep to the destroyer of morals and souls. Yes, we had our reasons that we could speak and write about for thousands of pages, but on our watch "effeminacy" and "man-bedding" became sexual "orientation," the statement of God's judgment against sexual perversion and sin became obsolete, and Christian preaching and teaching concerning the nature and meaning of sexuality became a hate crime.
So, we've succeeded in restoring the culture of the Ancient World in our day and time and the question to be asked is whether there is a pastor or elder left who will speak in our day as the Apostle Paul spoke in his?
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1Corinthians 6:9-11)